Minister of Education Jaak Aaviksoo has said in a Postimees interview that private schools in Estonia have no right to charge for studies at all, as they receive financing from the state.
His comments were a reaction to the licensing this week of a new private school in the vicinity of Tallinn's Reaalkool, one of Estonia’s best public schools, bearing a similar name and founded by the same board members. The news has drawn criticism from both the education officials and other private schools.
In discussing the funding issue, Aaviksoo said that state support should be taken away from the Estonian private schools, making them truly private, thereby reducing situations of unfair competition wherein private schools can hire better teachers for higher salaries.
The ministry has previously expressed fears that if Tallinn's Reaalkool turns even partially private, other elite schools may follow suit, shutting out poorer families from the best schools in the country.